Theodor Hierneis (1973) Movie Script

At the end of his life, the former cook at the court of Ludwig II
published the memoirs of his apprenticeship.
The memoires permit us an interesting insight into the nature of serving
and are a document of how to become a "Royal Cook, rtrd."
This film is also a contribution to the tradition
of the German medium sized businesses in the provinces.
On 1st Nov. 1882
the name of Theodor Hierneis as Royal cook apprentice
was entered into the personnel files
of the Royal Bavarian Lord Stewart.
For four years, I belonged to the household
of an unusual king.
The kitchen boys at the Bavarian court
were treated and kept very well,
and were carefully trained, because we were to replace
the Royal personal cooks after their retirement.
We were generously fed,
each of us had a piece of meat daily
and of course all the other ingredients,
and we were allowed to prepare it ourselves
at a special place at the great cooking stove.
Not at all bad for those times
was the travelling allowance.
In loco, at our base, in Munich
we got 1 mark 40 per day, and
while on tour, and the King was away for months,
at the hunting lodges,
or here, in Linderhof,
we got as much as 2 marks 16.
That wasn't bad at all,
if you consider
that one egg used to cost 1 pfennig.
Board and lodging was free too,
and we didn't have much occasion to spend money
here at the palace anyway,
so that by the end of the year,
I had always saved a considerable sum.
I've been saving money from the first day.
One wants to rise to a position later in life after all.
Very soon I entered myself for the voluntary first-year exam
and I passed it too.
Th. Hierneis
or: how to become a Royal Cook, rtrd.
Good day, gentlemen.
Good day.
A film by
Hans-Jrgen Syberberg
Herr Mller, good day.
Freely retold after the memoirs
of a kitchen apprentice at the court of Ludwig II.
Not as good as the food and pay
were the lodgings.
In the residential palace in Munich
our rooms were above the Hercules hall,
as it's called now, below the former Winter Garden.
That Winter Garden was the King's very special creation.
of monstrous dimensions,
it needed a huge and heavy iron construction
and fixed water basins
and real shrubs and
Palms most of all.
The King loved palms.
And the necessary amount of earth.
All this was of enormous weight,
so that it had to be taken out after the King's death,
because the walls weren't built for it.
That's what was said at the time.
When we had our rooms there,
the Winter Garden was still fully operating.
Our beds stood, of all places,
below the lake
which the King used for his gondola trips.
And somehow the lake must have had
a hole at the bottom.
Because there was constant dripping onto our beds,
so that we could only go to bed
with an opened umbrella.
Of course, if we had reported
the leak to the Lord Chamberlain,
this leak would surely have been repaired.
Or maybe it would.
But we kitchen boys didn't have
sufficient courage at the time
and so we stuck to our umbrellas.
And this is the palace kitchen.
The basis of the Bavarian court cooking,
as opposed to the Court of Berlin
which preferred Anglo-German food,
is the French cuisine.
And I believe
that the cuisine of the Munich residence,
compared to the famous models,
Napoleon's chefs,
Bernard, Dubois,
and the dwarf, Brillat-Savarin,
it had nothing to be ashamed of.
That one is from the violet cabinet.
The rich and abundant dishes,
their choice ingredients
were the pride of His Majesty's cuisine.
At the great court dinners no expense was spared,
goose liver pt, oysters, stuff
you just don't have these anymore.
Koleterin ??? chicklets
Polynesian fattened ducks
turtle meat
spiny lobster
This is a rechaud from the old days.
Very soon after first instructions
we were taught the use of the storages.
I got to know the cupboards and boxes,
their contents,
the difference between
corinthians, sultanines, raisins.
They always had be to washed carefully
and searched for tiny stones,
as well as the beans and peas.
"Do you understand?" they asked.
I said "Yes."
Then show us what you've learned."
Then they handed me a pound of salt.
Of course I dumped it into luke-warm water.
But not only that I didn't find any stones,
all the salt had vanished.
After such defeats, I took comfort in the plan
that I myself would act likewise
with my successors.
And I stuck to the motto:
"laughed at as apprentice...
"honoured as a master."
Outside it's pitch dark.
But the palace is brightly illuminated
The King is about to arrive.
From all the windows the candles
shed their light into the night.
First comes the vanguard rider with the lantern
then the Cheveaux Lgers in dress uniform
and then, drawn by four horses,
the rococo coach with the King inside
the King drives up
the coach door opens,
the coach steps are lowered
the King alights
I'm waiting inside vestibule
and can't get away and
place myself here
the King enters his palace
tall, noble
a ghost-like apparition
with big dark and incredibly luminous eyes
a mysterious king
that's how I saw him the first time.
he looked around the vestibule
and then he saluted Louis XIV
he was his role model
then he hugged this column
he thought he was alone
I would have been chased from court within an hour
if he had discovered me
but I was quite overcome
by my feelings for the King
and I was the only witness.
Against many of his actions and decisions
there was strong resistance
but when the talk turned to his personality
then everybody agreed:
a monarch as accomplished as in a dream
a king out of a fairy tale
Nowadays, there's nothing compared to the happiness
I felt when I first learned that I was chosen
to serve this august person.
If I had been working as kitchen employee,
say, for the President of a Republic,
that would have been a good position, I'd say.
but meager compared to the brilliance
and the shimmer of that crown
to be allowed to move in its sphere
that is happiness.
This feeling of happiness didn't prevent me
from studying with curiosity my new surroundings
and my curiosity's main object
was of course the King
at the time I thought I'd see him every day
the first thing I was taught was how to behave
towards His Majesty in case of an eventual encounter
Meyer taught me
first rule: when His Majesty approaches
you're to adopt a bowing attitude
like this
the arms and the head pointed downwards,
like this
and in this position one had to wait
until one was spoken to
or recognized
one was recognized
when the King had noticed one's presence
he recognized me five or six times in all
of course it was utterly impossible
to address the King first, or
even look at him
we wouldn't have dared that anyway
later, when the King's shyness of other people increased,
he introduced the Chinese court ceremonial
which prescribes that one can only approach His Majesty
crawling on one's hands and knees
and crawling, one had to withdraw
like a crab
at that time, I avoided to meet His Majesty
and I stayed away from doors and windows
and from the forecourt
very rarely the King commented on the food
and therefore it wasn't easy
to guess His Majesty's tastes
also, his taste and appetite
depended very much on his actual mood
and one had always take into consideration
the bad teeth of His Majesty
and that's why everything was prepared
very soft and fluffy
with soups the choice was quite large
brown consomm with all kinds of garnish
rice, noodles, ham rolls, liver sptzle
then the so-called thickened soups,
pure of venison, crme la Rhin
chicory soup
ox-tail soup, or a nice bread soup
but not like the peasants make it
we strained it with egg yolk or cream
or served it with a poached egg
very often the King was served fish,
filet of trout with wine sauce
or baked with butter and herbs
or sauce remoulade
this was often followed by a nice piece of beef
mostly roast beef
that was cooked for several hours
nicely bound together
and served in four slices, finger thick
he also liked meatballs
finely minced veal cutlets
with champignons and mashed potatoes
or fine omelettes
filled with asparagus tips
or smoked ox tongue
and in spring, His Majesty
especially liked peewit or seagull eggs
you cook the peewit eggs for five minutes
and you serve them in the shell, cut in half
with fresh butter
the King always just picked at the yolk
and didn't touch the egg-white
the King wasn't a great tippler
the nobles prefer quality to quantity in their wines
but as I said, the King's tooth affliction
was best known to us in the kitchen
already at 25, His Majesty couldn't bite off anything anymore
and somehow I found this comforting
that he too had to suffer pain,
like all of us
later, in my time,
the King was almost completely toothless
and he always held a perfumed lace handkerchief
in front of his lips
and kept people at a distance
now we're entering the biggest room of the palace,
the king's bedroom
again, a copy of the bedroom
of Louis XIV of France
whom you see represented in this painting
over the door
at the evening reception, the coucher,
and opposite, at the lever, the morning reception
Louis XIV used to gather his entire court
around his bed
in the morning and in the evening
you can see this very well
in those two paintings
and on both sides of the bed
very valuable gold applications
embossed into the wood
with 22 carat gold thread
created by the Munich firm of Jrres
over a period of several years.
first they made wooden models
and stitched the pattern over the wood
and this chandelier
is one of the highlights of the entire palace
made from Bohemian crystal
glass from Gablonz
cut by the firm of Lobmeyr of Vienna
it weighs half a ton
and contains 108 candles
it is a unique work,
the model was destroyed afterwards
in order to prevent any imitation
the King worked at night
and slept during the day
he kept regular resting hours
9 hours and 40 minutes
the first valet had to lock the King in
and take away the keys
the next day he had to enter the room
open the curtains
light up
and serve a cup of tea
this was followed by a deep bow
as morning salute
the King gets out of bed
drinks his tea
and goes to the bathroom
he attached a lot of importance to cleanliness
meanwhile a chambermaid changed the sheets
daily fresh sheets
white silk
the chambermaid mustn't be in the room
when the King came out of the bathroom after half an hour
the King didn't like female servants
his valet Rutz
received him from the bath with two towels
dressing was like everywhere else
only, with the King one had to see to it
that both ends of his black tie were exactly the same length
then His Majesty was handed
a white perfumed lace handkerchief
and when everything was in order,
he gave a nod
last came the court hairdresser Hoppe
a most important man
he had to perform his task in silence
he wasn't allowed to speak
for a hairdresser, this was very hard
then a silent morning prayer
the King wanted to be alone for that
at the time, the bathroom was much more sumptuous
it was like this here
but everything lined with blue velvet
after he'd finished dressing
he had breakfast
it consisted of tea, coffee, butter,
jam, eggs, cookies
and rolls
the breakfast lasted a good hour
then the King went out for a drive for half an hour
then for a walk for half an hour
and then he read his newspaper clippings
they came from Munich
we never actually had the entire newspaper
sometimes government dispatches arrived
twice a week,
but they were never important
the time till lunch,
7.30 p.m.
the King spent reading literature
half of which consisted of French works
during lunch,
the food elevator wasn't used
it went up before the King sat down at the table
and it went down only
after His Majesty had finished his lunch
it wasn't used between courses
because he would have to get up for it
the supper was more simple,
only 8 to 9 courses
and it was cooked in advance
so that I as kitchen boy
only had to heat it on the rechauds
after the main meal
the King spend the time mostly in his rooms
rarely outdoors
he made drawings, sketches,
or dictated instructions for palace building
the King learned about the dinner courses from the menue
very often I wrote it myself, in French,
a lot of them are today in museums
to the left of the soup was written
the name of the personal chef on duty
this was His Majesty's chair
once I was busy setting the table for four
during dinner, the flower bouquet wasn't here,
but on the mantelpiece back there
when coming from the Gobelin room, across the blue salon,
I suddenly heard the Royal steps,
the King came to the table, picked up the menue,
read it and asked
"Filets l'Allemande, what's that?"
I said, "Your Majesty, this is the tendrest meat
of a veal, directly below the back."
"Is that so?"
Then he wanted to know...
That's how I heard his voice for the first time,
I hadn't been at court for long then.
his voice was a bit ... constrained
but a very agreeable voice
and pure High German
[no Bavarian accent]
and then he wanted to know
"And why are the fillets called l'Allemande?"
Then I said, "Your Majesty,
"because they are larded in the German national colours,
black truffles, white lard and red tongue."
then he nodded
and then suddenly he wanted to know
"And do these filets also exist la Bavire?"
but I had to answer in the negative
because, we would have needed Bavarian blue
and there is no edible food in blue.
then the King turned back to his guests
there weren't always guests,
only for special occasions
mostly three ladies
from the French court
the Pompadour
then that one, the Dubarry
the King had the most beautiful ladies
the third one was called Maintenon or something,
but she wasn't here very often
the King conversed with the ladies
most charmingly
toasted them,
smiled at them
they were also served food
but the ladies never ate,
because they were imaginary
well, the King imagined them
they were products of his fantasy
very practical,
invite ladies who cannot speak
because they aren't there
very practical
they withdrew into this mirror salon
for these intimate dinners very often
the famous golden table service was used, with the gold plates
also at Herrenchiemsee,
but I wasn't there very often
when after Ludwig's death those golden plates
turned up in Frstenried, at Otto's
and when he saw them
he said at once:
"Now you must address me as Your Majesty."
At Frstenried, Otto never invited anybody to dinner
he was a sort of blond guy,
with a scraggly goat beard
he didn't look like a king at all
sometimes he still held speeches
to his people
in the park
but we were still here
at Linderhof
and ...
we were still busy with our Majesty
He wasn't that easy
when the King wanted to have dinner up there,
there was always excitement
not only that the dishes had to be taken
from the stove at the right moment
wrapped carefully,
partly cooked, partly half-cooked
and then packed into big flat baskets
and then they were carried up
up there
9 to 12 courses
that wouldn't have been so difficult,
but His Majesty expressed his wishes
always at the last moment
of course, the menue had to conform
to each locality
the dressing of the dishes
on the crystal plates and golden bowls
the decorating of the table
was particularly difficult up here
in this kitchen here,
no light, humid
I see, the personnel entrance is closed
well, nobody cares about this anymore
but the King didn't accept
the word "impossible"
hallo ... hallo
why don't you open up, Frau Mller?
how about ringing the bell?
the King's orders had to be executed
without protest
he had no consideration
for our difficulties
all that constant change of location
for the dinners
the primitive hunting lodges
with their small stoves
the permanent change of the time of the meals
the incessant night duties
at candlelight
for the King, the kitchen was a disagreeable
but necessary interruption of his mental activities
he didn't praise it,
he didn't criticize it
on important feasts,
at Christmas, on his birthday or name day
the circle of those who received gifts
was notably wide
everybody got something
only we didn't
and the King distributed his gifts graciously
but nothing for us in the kitchen
no gratification or recognition
or a souvenir
still, we loved our King
from the first Royal kitchen chef
to the last charwoman
we would have loved to fulfill
special requests
tasty little extras which weren't on the menue
fine lobster mayonnaise
veal head en tortue
with sliced truffles and champignons
baked fleurons,
that's those crescent shaped little puff pastries
or pt of snipe
omelette surprise
souffl. With the omelette,
we once had such an accident
and if you know the difficulty of that dish
it didn't arrive in time on His Majesty's table
and when it finally came,
he got up and said:
"I don't want it anymore."
After we'd cleared the table,
I could sometimes observe him
being rowed about on the lake down there
in his golden conch
that looked spooky
it didn't occur to me at the time
that he might be ill, but
there came up the question whether his fantasy
was still moving within the realm of the normal.
later I have often been asked
if the King had been an expert gourmet
more important than the actual preparation of the dish
was for him the presentation, the staging
then he sat all alone before the terra alba plates
on which had been dressed lobster and crayfish
and around allegorical figures made of Tragant
were grouped piquant aspics
goose liver pt
and inside marbled cornucopias ...
after the dinner we carried everything back downhill
and by that time, the morning mists
had already risen in the Graswang valley
we had other destinations for excursions as well,
for instance the Moorish pavilion
where the King spent his nightly days
each destination had its own specialty
regarding the order of the dishes
and the table setting.
On that subject,
substantial notebooks were kept
which had to be studied carefully.
Here in the Moorish pavilion
we served pyramid punch
and violet punch
the pyramid punch tasted of pineapple
it was served with date tartlets
the violet punch consisted of violet roots,
soaked in champagne
served with petits fours
decorated daintily with candied violet blossoms
in the middle Yggdrasil
the huge "world ash tree" towering over everything
made from naturally grown beech wood
the trunk that wide
that three Germanics could hardly span it
with their arms
custom-made at the Court Opera,
from paper-mach and wood
inside the trunk, Hunding's sword,
therefore the name "Hunding's hut"
around the "world ash tree",
bear skins
so that the King would be nice and cozy
on this wall, benches and heavy oak tables
for the King
here the cellars
for mead, bear ham,
reindeer ham
also for heating and other provisions
here the open fireplace with the mead kettle,
behind lay the kitchen
it was quite small
because big dinners weren't served here anyway
that's an ash-tree supposed to be a linden tree.
two small cabinets on this wall
one for His Majesty,
to rest
in the other, Hoppe dressed
the Cheveaux Lgers as Germanics
all this below a massive oak roof,
covered with moss
and stones
a heavy oak gate
with a view on the idyllic lake
with swan and canoe
the lake entirely lined with copper
here in the Hunding Hut
two big feasts were given each year
a servants' feast
and a big Germanic feast with the King,
at midsummer tide
it was prepared for weeks
The Equerry Hornig picked
among the Cheveaux Lgers sturdy Germanics
who were trained by Hoppe,
and at the opera by a choreographer
teaching them some Germanic dances
and also songs
living images
from those Germanic sagas
like the paintings in the singers hall
at Neuschwanstein
scenes with Hunding ...
well I forgot all about those folks
at that time I mostly brewed the mead
for mead you take six parts of water
one part finest Bavarian forest honey
you boil it with cinnamon
Muscat nut, Muscat flower
and half the skin of a bitter orange
after cooling you fill it into a fermenting bottle
and then you store it
in the fermenting cellar down there
it'll be ready to drink after about five weeks
for the King, we refined the mead of course,
with Romanian rose petals
but as to the Germanics,
we just served them Arrack.
the effect of mead is terrific
after two hours they were all just crazy!
I was never a Germanic.
When I first entered the King's service
they told me at home:
"Boy, don't attract anybody's attention."
those weren't any orgies,
as the scandalmongers wrote later
sometimes the King went out alone,
at a late hour
once he took Huber and Osterhahn with him,
they were quite beautiful Cheveaux Lgers
they wore those white deerskin breeches
you had to put them on wet,
and when dry, they were really tight
there I served mocca
and Hollerklee
because "Holunder" (elderberry) is also something Germanic
and I served the whipped cream in a silver bowl,
shaped like a little deer
and as sugar sprinkler a small owl
with tiny holes in its head
and then the King went out
took them by the hand,
both of them
and went with them into the lake
the lake over there
and ...
and then ...
oh well, that wasn't an orgy!
afterwards ... when the mist rose
early in the morning
he went into Gurnemanz' hermitage down there
into the loneliness
to do penance.
during the King's stay here,
there had to be flowers everywhere
and where nothing bloomed,
the court gardener planted flowerbeds into the meadow
in spring, the King asked for a Godfriday meadow
so he had the snow removed
and spring flowers planted from the hothouse
the deer up in the mountain
had been waiting for them already
but they weren't allowed to eat anything yet
we were there to prevent it
only after the King had left to do penance
then it was permitted
then reigned the absolute Godfriday's peace
Ladies and gentlemen,
the weather used to be very different at the time too
I can't remember it having rained just once
while we were here
when a king climbs a mountain
there's a big hullabaloo
you need at least 20-30 strong men
they were his personal bearers
the others were natives from the vicinity
it was a great honour for them
to be allowed to act as bearers for the King
the bearers carried the King's undergarments,
his mountaineer outfits
toilet articles
the plans for unbuilt palaces
a lot of literature
and the others:
silverware, crockery
what had been ordered for special services
and Turkish robes
for the Schachen up there,
they were always needed
down there, that's the Wetterstein mountain pasture,
that was the basis station at the valley
the bearers picked up their loads there
and the King changed to his two-wheel mountain cart
in that specially constructed mountain cart
the heavy things were carried
beer, kitchenware
or the King's bathtub
that's a new path
we took that one, the old path
Zanders was in charge of the whole expedition
he was terribly nervous
the kitchen followed
the personal cook on duty and my humble self
we didn't carry anything,
that was the bearers' job
the King arrived later
in a pony cart
behind his favourite, Ralf
he gave him sugar cubes from the cart
we had to serve Ralf a big dinner on the Schachen once
but he was really wild,
he threw a whole table
a typical menue for the reception
a dinner for the King
after the soup some appetizers
small pies, mussels au gratin
then boiled ox meat,
His Majesty loved that
we cooked that for each dinner,
with vegetables,
then a small snack
lamb cutlets with chestnut pure
or chicken fricasse
then something defty
roasted game
or fowl, depending on the season
then a little piquant dish
Dukaten noodles
with crawfish butter
and as sweet, apple strudel with cream
of course, ice-cream too,
and mocca
and a small dessert,
as usual
for drinks, woodruff punch
Roman ice punch, sorbet
because, you see, the King doesn't drink beer,
we only brought that for the bearers
Not only did we prepare the King's dinners
but we also cooked for the staff and the bearers
the men got the same food
as they were used to at home
right after arrival the bearers were sent
to the mountain pastures
to get milk, cream, butter
the others had to fetch water for the King
because the King immediately took a hot bath
after the strenuous climb
His Majesty arrived one day after us
early in the morning,
because as you know, he worked at the night
and lived at night,
consequently he also travelled at night
I think, what excited him most on his Schachen tour,
that was the trip up here, a wildly romantic affair
there were the vanguard riders who chased away the people
if there were any on the road
apparently nobody should see the King
then another vanguard rider followed with torches
and then the steaming ponies
pulling the King
behind sat Meyer,
he tied himself to the bench out of fear
it was just exciting,
he loved that
but sometimes, when his mood was more gracious,
he allowed people to approach his coach
a child or a peasant,
a forest worker
he spoke to the people,
asked their names
or what time it was
he once asked this of a forest worker,
of course he didn't have a watch
the next day His Majesty sent him a silver watch
that's how he was
and that's why the man is still so popular today
as a surprise, up on the Schachen,
we gave him a festive illumination and fireworks
so that the palace looked a bit more festive
but he came so late in the morning
that the sun had already risen,
so he couldn't see much of the illumination
well, he could hear the rockets,
that's beautiful too
there wasn't so much distraction
high up in the mountains, of course
a poet came up here once, Felix Dahn
he wrote "A Struggle for Rome",
very famous at the time
today you can still find the book in many libraries
and a young actor, Kainz, Josef
the King discovered him in his court theatre
he liked his voice,
very loud and beautiful
then he invited him up to the Schachen
and then he was very disappointed by his voice
he thought he would speak in the same unnatural voice
outside the stage too
then he got him up here
and he talked to him
and he said again and again
"I can't hear you, I can't hear you"
but he went a few steps away from him
Kainz spoke a bit louder
and the King went still a bit further away
and again said "I can't hear you, I can't hear you"
and finally he had the alcohol stove turned up
then the little Moor came,
our Abu, a gift from the Shah of Persia
anyway, the King stood there,
and Kainz here
and Kainz started to shout
we were all wondering what was going on
but they only talked about fashion
Kainz later became famous with his voice
as actor, that was fitting,
at the court theatre
and he also published his memoirs,
very intimate stuff
after the King's death
we can't see the palace park from here
but we don't need it, with such a beautiful view
here the Partnach
the Partnach ridge
Schneeferner plateau
those three in the back
then from here a view on Partenkirchen
you can't see Linderhof from here
on the meadow many affairs of state were dealt with
the King received his messengers there
or the cabinet secretary
he presented him the files
around, the servants and bearers sat and watched
the King sat in the middle on a chair,
behind him two lackeys
and his favourite black horse, Ralf
the King wore a Scottish travelling suit,
and a cap
and the messengers were always sent straight back,
down there
they never got any food,
sometimes a drink
here the Schachenplatte
with the famous echo
no, doesn't work today
sometimes he climbed the mountain himself,
then he looked quite dashing as a mountaineer
he always looked like the real thing,
no matter what he wore
but not as a hunter, hunting was forbidden,
he didn't permit that
and here he dreamed of voyages too
he travelled mostly to the Orient
there he sat,
surrounded by his faithful followers
his men
meaning us,
because there were no other men present
and there was incense from the sticks and pans
we sat there, dressed as Turks
we were smoking too
yes we knew all about it at the time
the King didn't smoke
he used to read, study drawings
he had already left for another voyage
he wanted to build a Chinese Winter Palace
on the Plansee
but he didn't have the time left to realize it
his ideal was to have
the most beautiful things from all over the world
buildings and plants
birds, deer, peacocks
birds of paradise and all that
if he could have gathered it all
in one place
and perhaps some people too
well, he wanted to build a paradise...
it could have happened in Bavaria.
that was the old castle at Hohenschwangau
where he spent his youth
that wasn't a paradise
they brought up the boy totally wrong
they didn't even feed him properly
under such circumstances
a child is simply forced into fantasies
and then he builds for himself such things
like that winter garden
on the roof of the residential palace
in front, that was a real the lake
that's the one that dripped onto my bed
in the background, behind the tent,
that one was artificial
a backdrop painted at the court opera
I believe those are the Himalayas in the back
he could have made all those voyages in real
he was a wealthy man,
Bavaria was rich at the time
but that was just the point for him,
he wanted to have everything in artifice
just for his fantasy
he was in France twice, in Paris
but he didn't want the Paris of the last century,
no, he wanted the Paris of Louis XIV
balls, a court like that
then he tried out the opera
the Germanics
music, Richard Wagner helped him a lot there
he met him quite early
he invented a lot of those Germanics himself
and those works, those operas
are still performed today
the theatres are packed
this too is a great credit to our King
that he helped to get those works created
and the proof that even today
many people have those longing,
is the fact, that so many
still watch those operas performed,
especially the younger people,
they understand the King.
they have the same longings
here Hunding fights against Wotan
Wotan with a spear,
carved from that "world ash tree"
according to the myth,
he's supposed to continue the fight till today
and this is an opera set
with Hunding's hut
and after this set
our Hunding's hut was built
Siegmund pulls the sword Nothung
out of the world ash tree
and Sieglinde probably implores him
to leave it inside
there used to sit the Germanics
here's the King's seat
bear skin
that was my place,
at the mead kettle
that was the door going to the lake
we didn't have those trees
this is the kitchen
it isn't up at the lodge,
but downhill, with the farm buildings
it's still working
and looks exactly like it used to
I think this is the only stove
in all the Royal palaces still in use
of course, there used to be a beautiful copper smoke funnel,
and much more copper kitchenware
the buffet there
finest crockery
that was our table
there sat the cook on duty
there sat I
there the dishwasher woman
the cook on duty mostly didn't eat anything
he'd already eaten enough
while tasting
and I, I ate my ...
I wrote this menue
Schachen, 24th August 1885
that was the day
before the King's birthday and name day
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
eight courses
and banana ice-cream to finish it off
we carried it all up here
apple pancakes
well, I liked best a Waidling of milk
that's a half litre bowl
and some bread pieces in it, with a bit of salt
I was used to this from home
I liked that
then, 20 years later,
I had already a wife and kids
I went up again for a visit
and showed them everything
but the old spirit wasn't there anymore
without the King, the magic was gone
beautiful mountains,
beautiful weather
the valley was beautiful,
the landscape was beautiful
but he wasn't here anymore
the magic was gone
up here, he was very close to us
we used to have him all to ourselves
at the time
but in Munich it was frowned upon
they searched for grounds for complaint,
and found them too
in Neuschwanstein,
in the upper court
our unhappy King's tragic fate
was fulfilled
there had been pouring rain for days
we were out in the kitchen
and heard coaches driving up
then we went over here,
to the dishwashing kitchen, to the window
and saw Count Holnstein,
another "true friend" of our King
get out of the coach,
he shouted to us at the window
"breakfast for the gentlemen"
then the personal cook, Rottenhfer,
went to the window and shut it.
and he said: "Lick my arse!"
that's what he said
anyway, that same day
the first commission left again
Count Drckheim
was really a true friend of the King
because of his love and loyalty
he was even brought to a court-martial later
he was the adjutant,
this was his office
I was in here once
this was the King's study
I never was in here
but what's that?
well, I must say...
and worries
there he really was all alone.
that the King might be ill or mad,
this idea would never have occurred to us
we wouldn't have dared anyway
we've loved him far too much for that
we looked upon his character as a sort of luxury being,
he was the King after all
direct acts of government
we saw very little of that here
in fact, none of it
Court Councilor Karl Mayer
was occasionally in Munich
and the personal hairdresser Hoppe
he was much abroad, in Naples and so on
the personal hairdresser Hoppe
was a very important man
he was entrusted with delicate special missions
mostly it was about money
this place cost a lot of money
this was the only room
we were permitted to enter
the antechamber to the dining room
here stood the rechauds
to keep the first courses and the soups warm
and here the first valet spent his nights
well, sometimes
Meyer had this altered,
it used to be a trunk
and once, Rutz, yes, him
he waited for the order
to serve the supper
suddenly the King came out of the dark dining room
and shook the little Rutz
Rutz became later the Mayor of Oberammergau
he lived to an old age
and he shook him and shouted
"in there is a man, why isn't locked up"
and Rutz went in there and
and who was inside?
the tall Osterholzer
on his knees, imploring the King with raised hands
that he should flee,
that he was betrayed
and the King gave the most medieval orders
Nicke, the palace servant,
had to write everything down
put out his eyes and God knows what
Drckheim's Rifle Batallion from Kenten was to march here
but nobody came anymore
yes, there he kneeled
the King was so upset
that he didn't even recognize his own personal coachman
I see
the bedroom
in here took place the actual act of state
the second commission with Baron von Gutten
arrived, a big dinner was ordered
in the old castle
it turned into an eating orgy
they brought the King in here,
to his bedroom
and Baron von Gutten read to him
his incapacitation
the King said:
"How can you declare me insane?"
"you haven't even examined me."
But Baron von Gutten said:
"Your Majesty, we have sufficient evidence,
also from the servants."
Not from me.
"You haven't seen me for twelve years!"
"How can you declare me insane?"
"You're destroying a human life."
"Shame on you."
then the King said:
"Leave me, gentlemen."
"Why don't you leave the room!"
"I want to be alone."
This was too embarrassing.
But only von Gutten left
and the assistant doctor Mller
and the lunatic attendants stayed
and before each window, each door, each hole
one of them stood and stared at him
it was too embarrassing
especially since the King couldn't bear
to be looked at, into his eyes
that's why we all had to ...
we were strictly forbidden
to look at the King
our most important rule was:
"the King mustn't be looked at."
this strict ceremonial
didn't exist at any other Royal court
when by accident the King suddenly appeared
and one couldn't look away fast enough,
then one had to beg His Majesty's pardon
for this there was a proscribed letter
with the following text:
"Your Majesty
"your most humble servant"
followed by the name
"asks for most gracious forgiveness
"and places it at the august person's feet."
of cause, we wrote these notes in advance,
because we needed them quite often
As to looking at the King,
really seeing him,
I only did that when ...
at the lake
after he had died
he was very close.
and in here we wrote them
in here we kept the notes
that was Rockenhfer's office
final control of the dishes
by staff controller Zander
Now ain't that a kitchen!
that's something else
than in Linderhof
for just one person
the King
I went out to the terrace very often at night
I had to stay awake
because he couldn't sleep
at 3 or 4 a.m. we saw the foxes
getting the kitchen refuse
but at the beginning of June
one couldn't stay out long, it was quite cold up here
one went back into the warm kitchen with pleasure
to the cooking stove
this was used for fowl
well, one spent the time reading
cooking books
or specialized literature
I improved my French a bit during that time
you need this for the refined cuisine
and I deeply thought about this and that
and I made notes too
one never knows,
they might come in handy one day
because even folks like me
have thoughts about things
so we sat around at night
he all alone
and I all alone
and we could have had such a grand life
by and by, the King became
more impatient and more insufferable
the wildest rumours were being spread
I didn't sleep at all the last three days
first we went over to the old castle
then we were told
that the King wanted have dinner here
in the new castle
then we packed everything and came here
and when we arrived here, Zander came and said,
the King wanted to have dinner in Linderhof
then we packed here and left at 10 p.m. for Linderhof
where we arrived early in the morning
and when we arrived at Linderhof,
a rider was already waiting for us
and he said, the King won't come at all to Linderhof
then we packed everything again
and came back here
then I thought I might go to bed at last
but then Meyer came
Meyer said, the King wanted a big dinner
a big one
up in the singers' hall
then we started.
The peacock
is a dish made for kings
already the ancient Romans
had a preference for this proud bird
the Bavarian court kitchen obtained its peacocks
from the breeding farms near Rome
and King Ludwig occasionally ate of that animal
a peacock,
after having been plucked carefully
the feathers are put aside for future use
you clean the inside and the outside
then you insert a filling
of truffles, goose liver, and fine herbs
herbs according to taste
one could say as a rule,
the same herbs the animal would have eaten while alive
the same rule applies to game
after the bird has been filled,
as described
it is stitched up
and hanged at a cool place for several days
until all the meat is permeated
with the fine truffles aroma
now let's go upstairs
and here the King lost his crown
if fact, he'd already lost it in Munich,
because he was deposed there
and the immediate deposal took place in the bedroom
anyway, the King got hold of the key to the tower,
and wanted to get up here and in there
but then the commission came from downstairs
and the King went over here
but from here the attendants came to meet him
then he wanted to go down,
but the commission was coming up
and that's how they caught him
then he only said: "What do you want?
What's the meaning of all this?"
anyway, how he got the key to the tower,
that I don't know
people say, Meyer gave them to him,
but I don't believe this
but I know one thing for sure
the big kitchen knife he demanded of us
the day before
that he didn't get!
besides, I know nothing
we've been sworn to secrecy too
but if we hadn't known anything
we wouldn't have been sworn to secrecy.
this is a food elevator
on the day of the dinner
the peacock is emptied again
the truffles are mixed into a fine farce
and stuffed back into the peacock
then it's fried for about 1 1/2 hours,
till it's light brown
wrapped in lard
the frying time the same as for an average goose
a peacock tastes like a ...
well like a duck ... no
more like a chicken
personally I never cared for peacocks at all
the peacock was served on a big silver plate
on a bread foundation, finely
carved before and put together again
the wheel of feathers stuck into its behind
around the bread foundation,
neck, head and some other beautiful feathers
the King was in a very bad mood at that time
we weren't surprised anymore
he was going through very difficult days anyway
and the peacock came just handy
then at dinner, early in the morning,
twelve lackeys presented the showpiece
but the breast was carved too large
the King only ate the breast
Meyer was very helpful, as always
and he said to me, "boy, go down
to the food elevator"
he had written a letter to the King
that the kitchen boy Hierneis has a nosebleed
and that he couldn't come
probably Meyer himself carved the breast for him
the lackey Meyer was the servant
with the black mask
each time he stood before the King
he had to put on a black mask
because the King decided suddenly:
"I don't want to see his face anymore"
with Meyer being the King's only connection
to the outside world, he was indispensable
and he looked quite normal
he looked quite normal
a tall and handsome man
a Bavarian
beautiful hair,
he was one of the Chevaux Lgers
he was a loyal servant of his master
when the King woke up during the day
with some complaints or orders
who came? Meyer
always with a friendly smile in his face
or when the King came home from a drive
at 5 a.m.
who received him at the gate?
with the same friendly face beneath the mask
when the King had left us
after the tragic events
Meyer resigned from court service
well, there was a lot of talk
they said he'd gone to America or somewhere
well, with his memoirs he could have easily ...
the Meyer
here in the throne hall
the King said farewell
he looked up
to the paintings of the holy anointed kings
he saluted them
he never had dinner in here
and he didn't govern in here either,
because the throne wasn't ready yet
and then the King stepped out to the balcony
The valet Alfons Weber
has later described this touching scene
the King rested his head in his hands
and looked out for the last time
at his Bavarian mountains
he swam frequently in the Alpsee over there
it's 4 km long
the King was an excellent swimmer
strange that he died drowning
we in the kitchen couldn't follow the events as well
our chef, Rockenhfer
he said
for us, the job goes on
during the night he was secretly taken away
with an escort
we packed everything again
and followed him to Schlo Berg
and the rest is well known
the first big court dinner was on the occasion
of the funeral ceremonies of Ludwig II
140 guests
12 courses
"a beautiful corpse!"
our new master
was the Prince Regent Luitpold
he was a passionate hunter
summer and autumn he spent at the hunting lodges,
in the Berchtesgaden county or in the mountain huts
we were always with him
and in winter, pheasants in the outskirts of Munich
pheasantry Moosach
Otto used to live there
Otto in fact was the King, but ...
he didn't realize that anymore
in December we were in the Spessart woods,
hunting wild boar
we were with him there too
we even had our own butcher
for the sausages
because the blood and liver sausages
of the wild boar, they're just ...
more piquant
and the Prince Regent
especially liked the wild boar
and most of all, the head
we served it glazed
in the manner of Bernard Dupois
I was also at Frstenried, with Otto,
for a short time
Otto, he liked strawberries
wood strawberries
of course, we were constantly cornered
and questioned
by journalists and editors,
"How was it really?" "You were there"
The "Gartenlaube" brought a big feature
with sequels only this year
the author was -
nothing but gossip
but it was the sensation of all Europe
one day, Baron von Mahlsen,
he was Courtmarshall to Otto
he came to me and asked;
"boy, don't you want to get away a bit?"
to Berlin?
I said: "Yes"
then he gave me
a very good recommendation to Berlin
and I went to Berlin
As a Bavarian I had some difficulties there in the beginning
but I managed to assert myself
very quickly I rose to the position
of chef at the Imperial court
in Berlin, things were on a much bigger scale of course
three kitchens, 60 personal chefs,
in Munich we were 6
big diplomatic and military dinners
the Black Eagle ball, 1500 place settings
the latest technical equipment
steam pots
in short: everything
a modern court kitchen could need
of course, they called the sauce "gravy"
and mayonnaise was "oily dip"
the compote they called "steam fruit" -
oh well!
up there I thought a lot about my Bavarian homeland
where some of my former colleagues
who shared our unhappy King's final years
became men of importance and also of wealth.
The Equerry Hornig, for instance,
bought himself in Kempen a big hotel, the Bahnhofshotel
and Welter
court lackey
settled down in Stuttgart as a considerably rich man
the Prince Regent himself acted as pall bearer
at Court-Fourier Hesselschwerdt's funeral
and I too felt the pull back to the Bavarian court
with most gracious support
I bought my first delicatessen shop
I founded a bourgeois existence
Wine Store and Delicatessen
Theodor Hierneis, Court Cook rtrd.
of course, because of my special connections
I became purveyor to the court very fast
I catered for the Bavarian nobility
and the upper bourgeois society
starting with one store,
later I had four
that's the way it goes,
one thing leads to another
one had acquired a certain position
the honours weren't late in coming in either
and when Munich celebrated my 60th birthday
the Bavarian Grocery and Delicatessen Gazette wrote,
for instance
on 4th October 1928, on page 1
the esteemed president of our association,
Herr Theodor Hierneis
has today crossed the threshold of the 60s
in his simple and modest way
we too want to commemorate this day.
When the Bavarian Grocery Retail Trade heard the calling
to create a powerful influential
professional association
it was he who actively, with words deeds,
served for the cause
for the benefit of the Bavarian medium sized businesses.
The position Herr Hirneis holds today
in public and commercial life
he owes it to his own force and ability
and to his wife,
who stood by his side for 30 years as faithful Eckkehardt
also the Imperial Grocery and Retail Association
joins these honest blessings and good wishes
may the Lord, as noblest reward for his industrious life,
reveal to him the truth of the saying:
"When you look back at the end
"may your eye see only blessings and happiness."
Theodor Hierneis died in 1953
in his 84th year
Th. Hierneis
or: how to become a Royal cook, rtrd.
A film by
Hans-Jrgen Syberberg
Freely retold after the memoirs
of a kitchen apprentice at the court of Ludwig II.
script: Hans-Jrgen Syberberg,
assisted by Walter Sedlmayr
Theodor Hierneis: Walter Sedlmayr